What led you to a career in safety?
I could go back in time when I was in grammar school and my father was around the kitchen table with my mother, and they were talking about an accident that happened on the job site. My dad told me that a person had passed away from a machine that somehow crushed them. So I lived with that for plenty of years, hoping that my dad would not get into any major incidents, or major injuries, and just work safe.
Fast forward a few years, later during college, I decided to take a course elective for my management degree on agricultural safety. I think it was a blessing in disguise because it exposed me to the safety career. Not only in agriculture background but more of an industrial, modern, urban landscape, which is the environment that I come from. I live in a city, but I went to Champaign out in the rural cornfields. So I knew eventually I would come back to Chicago and work. The class also talked about the federal agency that is responsible for worker safety, and I was hooked. And I said, "You know what? As soon as I leave Champaign, I'm going to go up to Chicago, and I'm going to look into making this a career for me," because now that I know that an agency like OSHA exists, I want to make a difference and I want to help out people. I want to make sure that my dad, my cousins, your family member makes it back home safe. And it's a personal gratification, a personal sense of responsibility, to make the world better for everyone.